Turkey in Syria. Turkey launched air strikes on Sunday against Kurdish militants in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the strikes, dubbed Operation Claw Sword, on Monday, saying they were necessary because of said Russia’s failure to remove “terrorists” from the area, as it had agreed to do through a deal reached in Sochi. Russia’s engagement in Syria has declined since it began its invasion of Ukraine.
What sanctions? Western countries continue to import energy from Russia despite the tough sanctions they’ve imposed on Moscow. European traders are reportedly filling storage tanks with Russian diesel before an embargo on Russian oil products comes into force on Feb. 5. Diesel from Russia accounted for 44 percent of Europe’s total fuel imports in November, up from 39 percent in October. Meanwhile, The Sunday Times newspaper reports that at least 39 shipments of Russian oil (registered as deliveries from other countries) worth $237 million have arrived in the U.K. since the start of the war in Ukraine.
More fertilizer. Russia is increasing export quotas for certain types of nitrogen fertilizers. By the end of 2022, the quota for the export of urea will be increased by 400,000 tons, ammonium nitrate by 200,000 tons and carbamide-ammonia by 150,000 tons. Russia introduced quotas for the export of nitrogen and complex fertilizers on Dec. 1, 2021, to curb rises in food prices. It’s now in the process of negotiating a deal to boost its fertilizer exports, which have slumped due to sanctions.
Synchronization. Iran’s energy minister said synchronization of the country’s electricity network with Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia is underway. According to the minister, the Iranian and Russian power grids are already in sync. The project is aimed at stabilizing Iran’s power system. Moscow, meanwhile, is trying to strengthen its connections to places like the Middle East and the South Caucasus as its energy exports to Western markets decline.